Sunday, February 12, 2017

From Next Door (PC)

Source: Page

From Next Door is a short mystery-horror game created by SpaceZeta for the 2016 Pixel Horror Jam. Using inspiration from Junji Ito and the Silent Hill games, Space Zeta crafted an atmospheric horror game that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I am not much for horror games, especially ones that involve jump scares, but this type of atmospheric horror is something I love. I am also a fan of both the Silent Hill games, and Junji Ito manga(Uzumaki was my favorite.)

You play as a young woman named Namie, who is moving into a new home with a price that seemed too good to be true. She’s hoping that this will be her big break. However, when she comes across a locked room on the second floor, and she realizes she doesn’t have a key, she starts to feel that maybe there is something she isn’t being told about this house.

Source: Screen Capture from Game

She wonders if the neighbors have any idea about the house. On one side of her she has a nice family living there, but it doesn’t seem they know too much about the house, or why the previous tenants left in such a hurry. All the realtor will tell you is that the previous tenant had an emergency and had to leave immediately. On the other side of your house is an odd house that appears to have a door… but no windows.

She managed to find a key among the previous tenants abandoned belongs—of which they left literally everything—and opened the looked room to find a normal looking tatami room with a boarded up window. Peeking through the boards reveals that the house next door DOES have a window… but how strange that it is lined up directly with hers. Not feeling that this was strange, or foreboding in any way, Namie decides to remove the wooden boards. Any sensible person, especially one who has ever read a Junji Ito novel, would promptly get the hell out of dodge... But not Namie. She is either very brave, or very stupid.

In the room with the boarded window, Namie also finds a wallet that seems to belong to the previous tenant, Daisuke Sen. She calls Omura and asks about how to contact the previous tenant. He reluctantly agrees to get the information for her. When he does, he is only able to give her an email address. Namie emails Daisuke Sen to ask about the window. She immediately gets an email back that simply says, “DO NOT OPEN IT. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. FIND THE NOTEBOOK.”

Still, this does not convince Namie to leave. In order to solve the mystery you’ll need to play the game for yourself. I’m not going to spoil any more of the story, or it's surprises, but I hope this enticed you to play it. The game recommends you wear headphones, so I spent the majority of the game waiting for that jump scare that I knew was coming.

Source: Page

A particular feature that got me, was that it’s almost always night during the course of the game. At night, when you enter rooms, you need to turn on the lights before you can see. I have a fear of the dark, so when I walked in a dark room, I was immediately tense, until I got the light on. There are also some nighttime scenes where you are lying in bed and cannot do anything except wait in the darkness, which is even worse.

The art for this game is nice. I did always like the pixel game aesthetic. It has a Game Boy Advance game appearance. The sound effects are spot on and really add to the overall atmosphere of the game. SpaceZeta really did a superb job pulling the elements of a good horror game together. Of course, I recommend playing the game for yourself! You can download and play for free *here*.

I hope that you will give the developer works of encouragement, or helpful criticism, to help them further improve their skills and future content.

Happy Gaming, Friends!



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